Boris Johnson drops out of the race to be the next U.K. prime minister

by | Oct 23, 2022 | Top Stories

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Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at Gatwick Airport in London on Saturday, after travelling on a flight from the Caribbean following the resignation of Liz Truss as prime minister.

Gareth Fuller/PA via AP

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Gareth Fuller/PA via AP

LONDON — Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Sunday he will not run to lead the Conservative Party, ending a short-lived, high-profile attempt to return to the prime minister’s job he was ousted from little more than three months ago. His withdrawal leaves former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak the strong favorite to become Britain’s next prime minister — the third this year — at a time of political turmoil and severe economic challenges. He could win the contest as soon as Monday. Johnson, who was ousted in July amid ethics scandals, had been widely expected to run to replace Liz Truss, who quit last week after her tax-cutting economic package caused turmoil in financial markets, was rapidly abandoned and and obliterated her authority inside the governing party. Johnson spent the weekend trying to gain support from fellow Conservative lawmakers after flying back from a Caribbean vacation and held talks with the two other contenders, Sunak and House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt.

Late Sunday he said he had amassed the backing of 102 colleagues, more than the threshold of 100 needed to make a ballot of lawmakers on Monday. But he was far behind Sunak in support, and said he had concluded that “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”

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Conservative Party leadership candidate Rishi Sunak leaves his campaign office in London on Sunday. Sunak is frontrunner in the Conservative Party’s race to replace Liz Truss as prime minister.

Alberto Pezzali/AP

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Alberto Pezzali/AP

The prospect of a return by Johnson had thrown the already divided Conservative Party into further turmoil. He led the party to a thumping election victory in 2019, but his premiership was clouded by scandals over money and ethics that eventually bec …

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